14. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey1
817. Following highlights telecon between Secretary and Under Secretary (in Ankara) February 14, 1830Z, are in addition verbatim portion sent action Paris repeated info other posts.2
Under Secretary reported meetings with Inonu and Erkin showed PriMin under enormous pressure which greatly intensified after bloody Limassol affair. However he determined act in consultation with US and wishes withhold any decisive action until after disposition Cypriot case in UN provided there no new incidents. It clear situation extremely precarious but Under Secretary trusts PriMin’s assurances he will not move before telling US unless something occurs making intervention imperative.
Under Secretary stated PriMin presented several questions and wants answers before Monday:
- What will US reaction be if Russians want intervene?
- How should GOT act during UN consideration this matter?
- If US advises patience, what will be advice to all other parties concerned in order maintain even temporary peace and security?
- Will US release Turkey’s troops from NATO command to be available and ready?
- In case nobody intervenes except Turks, may GOT expect attitude benevolence and neutrality US Government?
- Wish clear-cut indication as soon as possible US’s UN tactics and close cooperation with Turk Ambassador Washington who will handle in UN.
In addition, two questions put to British Ambassador: if troubles go on in Cyprus what will UK do? Is UK ready exercise its right intervention with Turkey?
Commenting on UN tactics (transmitted separately)3 Under Secretary said this exactly right course which can make major contribution hold back Turks. Stated he had made clear to PriMin it would disastrously prejudice chances defeating Cypriot UN move if Turks took action giving credence GOC claim Cyprus was in imminent danger Turk aggression, and that request to NATO for release Turk NATO contingents on standby basis would be exploited by GOC in UN and make [Page 30] efforts defeat GOC tactics immensely more difficult. He had told PriMin emphatically US would never support resolution questioning Treaty Guarantee and expressed confidence that by working together we can defeat GOC ploy, and assured PriMin closest consultation.
Under Secretary asked if Turks could be told of plans for preemptive move to SC on Saturday.
Secretary noted Caccia and Dean were with him and that Limassol casualties not as great as first reported. Gave first reaction some of GOT questions as follows:
See no prospect Russians would attempt intervene Cyprus but assume Western powers including US would find way prevent. Noted other possibility of Soviet pressure on Turkey in event Turkey moved unilaterally under Treaty would raise gravest questions for NATO generally and underscores necessity finding answer Cyprus problem which would prevent that contingency.
Believe US and Turkey should act in closest harmony during period UN consideration and all parties, especially UK, should make maximum effort keep situation calm.
Added that presumably British will shortly answer questions put to British Ambassador since PriMin has returned London.
Re UN tactics, Secretary stated we contemplate British letter will go SC President Saturday afternoon but no SC meeting before Monday because of Greek elections. Said Turks must not give publicity to British letter since could have adverse effect on Greek elections.
Emphasized importance that Greeks not be informed of British letter before its approximate time of delivery which roughly 1430 Saturday NY time.
Noted that possibility Soviet pressures on Turkey underscored necessity closest Turkish consultation in NATO re Cyprus. Mentioned planned Saturday meeting NAC on Cyprus and suggested Turks should keep closest touch with Secretary General Stikker.
Secretary suggested Under Secretary proceed on itinerary to Athens. British Ambassadors Athens Ankara would inform GOG and GOT at appropriate time Saturday re British letter to SC.4 Ambassador Hare could at same time give suggested assurances to Turks, and that Under Secretary need not discuss British SC letter either capital.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Bracken, cleared by Burdett, and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Athens and repeated to London, Nicosia, Paris for USRO, and USUN.↩
- A transcript of the telephone conversation is ibid.↩
- Ball’s comments were transmitted in telegram 816 to Ankara, February 14. (Ibid.)↩
- In telegram 1227 from Ankara, February 15, Ball reported that he had explained the “preemptive initiative” to Turkish officials during an evening meeting. (Ibid.)↩